Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins–The Show

Author Alan Moore has always had a fairly eclectic pallet when it comes to creative endeavours. In addition to the comics he is best known for penning he has also; written a novel, Voice of the Fire, with another recently completed and awaiting publication, written and performed a number of beautiful, dense spoken word performance pieces, produced an opera libretto based on the life of Elizabethan magician John Dee, edited and financed a 'beautiful, doomed undergound magazine' Dodgem Logic and contributed  a wonderful novella, Unearthing, to the anthology London: city of disappearances , (a work which has subsequently been adapted into a CD with backing music and a coffee table photographic edition). That just a handful of the projects he has been part of over the last few years.

Another creative foray is a series of interrelated short films. Described by the man himself as occult, noir flecked pieces, they are a spooky collection and make for some unsettling viewing. The films are encompassed under the umbrella title The Show.

Made on a shoe string budget the films were financially at a disadvantage when it came to securing music for the soundtrack. Moore found the easiest way around this conundrum was to write the song lyrics himself and then hand them over to producer friends Crook and Flail to act as music wranglers. At the same time he concocted a back story and mythology for the acts that originally performed them in his twisted underside reality.

The results were a little varied but when they hit the mark they were right on, evoking a mixture of nostalgia and unease which was perfect for films set in a working mans club forever frozen in 1973.

First out of the box was the lush Queen of Midnight featuring the velvet vocals of Tunde Adebimpe masquerading as Vince Shannon & The Black Notes. The song coasts along beautifully in a romantic haze managing to evoke heartbroken Roy Orbison cruising under the influence of a Valium or two and a large gin and tonic.

Next was In the Past Again featuring Nina Invie sweetly channelling The Carpenters as The Millers, skewering contemporary pop culture and its re-treading and re-packaging of what has gone before, considerations which have run through Moores work for the last few years but never expressed so succinctly or elegantly. The video below features the storyboards for Jimmy's End, the film where the song appears. 

Far less compelling was Television Heart by Sal Roth (aka Alan Sparhawk of Low) which goes for country and comes across a little novelty. To make up for that we'll throw in a Low track which highlights what it could have been.

The songs straddle uncomfortable territory. It's a place of uneasy feeling and raw emotion, populated by seemingly deranged, maybe dangerous, residents, would-be deities and lost souls.What's surprising is, by themselves, without the arresting images and intense performances, the songs evoke their own unique character. These are not just props for a greater whole. In the Past Again is a steadfast, intensely personal, critique of our culture now, as is Strippers & Clowns, albeit in the form of a disappointed survey of the modern urban landscape. With Queen of Midnight Moore effortlessly flexes his well developed narrative muscles and delivers a compact and disturbing story of a ghostly streetwalker and her would be customer.  

Other songs can be heard on the film soundtrack, but have so far not surfaced as individual tracks, and include Dreamland, a second Vince Shannon track, Broken Dreams by Marv Cougar & The Blondes, One More Time Around by Bevan Jones, which sounds Greg Dulli if I'm being generous and James Blunt if I'm not, and an apocalyptic Strippers & Clowns which successfully transfers Joy Division to the East Midlands as False Awakenings. I'm really sorry I can't provide a video to accompany that.

The films, the songs and Moores scripts are to be packaged by Lex Records in a deluxe edition under the title Show Pieces sometime in the next couple of months. You can see all the details over at their website.

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